Can You Name the Most Famous Black and White Movies Ever?


By: Jonnathan Chadwick

7 Min Quiz

Image: Warner Bros.

About This Quiz

We aren't living at the apex of black and white cinema, but just in the past several years, black and white movies have made more of a comeback than anyone could've imagined. The 2010s were supposed to be a decade of 3D films and out-of-this-world CGI, but instead, we saw a silent movie win the Academy Award for Best Picture, and two black and white films win Best Director Oscars.

With all the technology at our disposal today, it's no surprise that movies are bigger, stronger and faster than movies of a century ago, but it doesn't mean they're better. There's no substitution for superb dialogue or timeless storytelling, and among the chocolate syrup blood and cheap scene transitions you'll find magnificent dialogue and timeless narration. Some of the most iconic movie quotes, characters, screenplays and scenes come from black and white movies, and some of Hollywood's biggest stars come from the era.

Charlie Chaplin, Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn all rose to fame in the black and white era, and legendary directors like John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock and John Huston all excelled during the period. You can't truly appreciate the art of film if you don't understand the work of the industry's pioneers, and if you consider yourself a movie buff, you need to know all of these movies. Put your cinema skills to the test and see if you can name all these black and white classics.

“It's alive! It's alive!” Can you name the movie famous for this quote?

About a century after Mary Shelley finished her novel, "Frankenstein," it was adapted for the big screen. The film's "It's alive!" quote was voted as one of the most iconic quotes in movie history by the American Film Institute.


A newspaper tycoon utters "Rosebud" right before he dies and everybody wants to know why. What is this cinema masterpiece by Orson Welles?

Orson Welles created every aspect of this 1941 classic about Charles Foster Kane, who is loosely based on real-life newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst. The film is commonly recognized as one of the best movies ever made.


Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman will always remember Paris after the two played secret lovers in what Hollywood classic?

Humphrey Bogart plays Rick Blaine, who manages a bar in Casablanca, Morocco. One day his former lover, played by Ingrid Bergman, shows up with her husband looking to escape WWII and everything gets really complicated.


Alfonso Cuaron won Best Director at the 2019 Academy Awards for what film that documents the life of a maid in 1970s Mexico?

"Roma" follows the story of a maid in Mexico City, and it was released by Netflix in 2018. The movie went on to pick up 10 nominations at the Academy Awards, but not without criticism from Hollywood's anti-Netflix old guard.


Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese teamed up to portray the life of legendary boxer Jake LaMotta in what sports classic?

De Niro's portrayal of the rise and fall of boxer Jake LaMotta nabbed him his second Oscar and it was the second time he teamed up with Martin Scorsese to create a classic. The film is widely considered to be one of the greatest sports movies ever made.


Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning story about Atticus Finch, Tom Robinson, Jem and Scout was adapted for the screen just two years after it was published. What is its name?

Gregory Peck won the 1963 Academy Award for his portrayal of Atticus Finch in the adaptation of this racially charged saga. Actor Robert Duvall actually made his official film debut in the movie but had no lines of dialogue.


"Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings." Which of these movies is the quote from?

Frank Capra joined forces with Hollywood star Jimmy Stewart to tell the story of a frustrated and ungrateful businessman in this holiday classic that is widely considered to be one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time.


Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke won Best Actress and Supporting Actress for their portrayals of Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller in what inspiring true story?

Patty Duke spent a year perfecting her portrayal of Helen Keller on the stage, but she still almost didn't get the movie role because execs thought she was too old. They eventually changed their minds, and Duke ultimately won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.


This entire film — except for three minutes — was shot inside of a bare jury room.

"12 Angry Men" features about 90 minutes of jury deliberation, and today the film is regularly used to teach team skills and conflicts and resolutions. Henry Fonda starred in and produced the film, and he hired Sidney Lumet to direct.


Gary Cooper stars as Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth stars as Babe Ruth in what legendary baseball film?

You can see Gary Cooper deliver Lou Gehrig's iconic farewell address at Yankee Stadium in this epic sports film that pays tribute to the legendary franchise. Babe Ruth appeared as himself in the movie that was released in 1942.


Alfred Hitchcock's mystery thriller about Norman Bates and his mother is most remembered for the shower scene.

Anyone who knows Alfred Hitchcock knows he was the master of suspense for a reason, and this 1960 horror film is a prime example of his A-game. Fans were stunned to see the main character die at the beginning of the film and then were shocked to learn the movie's twist ending.


Washed-up film star Norma Desmond spends time with her pet monkey as she gets ready for her closeup in what cinema classic?

Just the name Sunset Boulevard evokes images of old Hollywood and Silver Screen legends, and this movie encompasses it all. This movie about a screenwriter won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay and has two separate listings on AFI's list of 100 best movie quotes.


“Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night.” What movie is this quote from?

The rocky relationship between timeworn Broadway star Margo Channing, played by Bette Davis, and fresh up-and-comer Eve Harrington, played by Anne Baxter, has gone down in history as one of the greatest screenplays ever written.


Stanley Kubrick wrote and directed this black comedy about a mad general who is determined to blow up the world.

Peter Sellers played the title character in this satire about Soviet relations with the United States. The 1964 comedy is widely regarded as one of the greatest comedy movies ever made and one of the greatest movies ever made.


Marlon Brandon got his big break in what 1951 hit that takes place in the French Quarter of New Orleans?

"A Streetcar Named Desire" was just Marlon Brando's second movie, but he was paid almost as much as his co-star Vivien Leigh, who was the highest-paid English actress at the time. Leigh ultimately won the Best Actress Oscar for her role, and Brando continued on to stardom.


Billy Wilder wrote and directed this comedy classic about a group of promiscuous executives and their secret hideout.

Billy Wilder accepted Best Picture and Best Director awards at the 1961 Academy Awards for this romantic comedy that stars Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine in lead roles. When company execs need a place to carry out their extra-marital affairs, they find the perfect place.


Ebenezer Scrooge meets the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future in what holiday classic?

This Charles Dickens classic will forever be one of the greatest Christmas stories ever told. The timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley and Tiny Tim doesn't change much in its cinema adaptation.


Marilyn Monroe plays the lead singer of a girl band that includes two guys in disguise in what movie?

Marilyn Monroe is known for many things, and one of them is being cast in this Billy-Wilder directed romantic comedy. Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis star as hideaways who disguise themselves as women and join Monroe's girl band.


Humphrey Bogart plays detective Sam Spade and maneuvers his way through love, lies and crime in what 1940s mystery drama?

"The Maltese Falcon" is a classic example of 1940s film-noir and stars Humphrey Bogart as slick detective Sam Spade. Hollywood titan John Huston wrote and directed the movie, and it is regularly considered one of Hollywood's best.


Orson Welles plays the mysterious Harry Lime in what film-noir thriller?

It's impossible to create a list of black-and-white films without including Orson Welles, who was one of the premiere filmmakers of the time. He worked for just one week playing the role of Harry Lime in this film.


What Charles Dickens classic follows a young boy as he goes from orphan to aristocrat?

Here's another Dickens classic that has been adapted to the screen too many times to count, but the 1946 adaptation may be the best one, as it went on to win two Academy Awards. The story of Pip's journey from orphan to aristocrat will never get old.


In what film does Jimmy Stewart star as a naive and idealistic man suddenly appointed to the United States Senate?

You can hear Jimmy Stewart's iconic voice as he plays Jefferson Smith in this award-winning story about political corruption and scandal. Washington insiders didn't like it because they thought it shed a negative light on American politics.


"I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could've been somebody ... " Which of these movies is the quote from?

Just a few years after Marlon Brando starred in "A Streetcar Named Desire," he landed the lead role in this film that went on to win eight Academy Awards at the 1955 Oscars, including the Best Actor award for Brando.


Two guys hatch the perfect idea to swap murders in what crime thriller?

When two strangers meet each other on a train, they come up with the perfect idea to swap murders. That way it's impossible for either one of them to get caught. The thrilling mystery was directed by the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock.


The three-minute opening sequence of this Orson Welles classic is considered one of the greatest long takes in cinema history.

Orson Welles again. The opening scene in "Touch of Evil" is a masterful example of the long-take, where a full three-plus minutes of screen time are spliced together to look like a single take. The film centers around murder, corruption and kidnapping in a Mexican border town.


John Ford won the Best Director Academy Award for this film that follows a Midwest family as they travel to California during the Great Depression.

Steinbeck's screen adaptation was directed by legendary Western director John Ford and starred Henry Fonda in the lead role. The film nabbed Ford his second of four Best Director Oscars and also won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.


Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall are caught in a web of lies, love, blackmail, gambling and crime in what film noir classic?

Humphrey Bogart is to black-and-white detective films what The Rock is to CGI action flicks. In this one, he played detective Philip Marlowe, and his love interest was Lauren Bacall, who also happened to be his real-life mistress.


In what film does a sinister headmaster teach a house of boys how to pickpocket on the streets of London?

Charles Dickens had the uncanny ability to tackle the deepest philosophical topics of love, hate and the meaning of life with the simplest stories. This one follows one of the most famous fictional characters ever created as he maneuvers the London underground.


Two out-of-work Americans decide to search for gold and end up battling for their lives in what classic Western?

Humphrey Bogart starred alongside Walter Huston, who was John Huston's father, and John Huston was the director of the film. Both Hustons went on to win Academy Awards for this Western drama that takes place in Mexico.


Frank Sinatra stars in this political thriller about a brainwashed prisoner of war who finds himself in the middle of an international conspiracy.

Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury and Janet Leigh star in this political conspiracy thriller that centers around the story of the brainwashed prisoner of war, Raymond Shaw, played by Laurence Harvey. The film was completed in just 39 days of shooting.


This story about a runaway and a reporter who fall in love swept the 1935 Academy Awards.

Ken Kesey's adaptation of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and the adaptation of "Silence of the Lambs" are the only two other movies to win Academy Awards for Best Actor, Actress, Writing, Director and Picture.


Audrey Hepburn plays a runaway princess who falls in love with an American reporter in what 1953 romantic comedy?

Audrey Hepburn's only Academy Award win came for her portrayal of the bored runaway Princess Ann in this 1953 romantic comedy. The film was voted as one of the best romantic comedies ever made and it was the first American film to be entirely made in Italy.


What classic movie follows the story of a young man and the magical painting that reveals his inner ugliness?

Oscar Wilde's literary classic was adapted for the screen in 1945 and starred George Sanders and Angela Lansbury. The story follows the youthful Dorian Gray and a painting that bears the brunt of his corruption, so he doesn't have to.


An insurance salesman strikes up an affair with his client's wife and winds up in the middle of a murder plot he can't handle.

If you ever want to make your life as complicated as possible, just have an affair with your client's spouse and then plot to kill their spouse, so you guys can live happily ever after. If that sounds easy to you, you might want to check out this film.


Charlie Chaplin's final speech in this movie, which he wrote, directed, produced, starred in and scored, is considered one of the greatest speeches in cinema history.

Charlie Chaplin is arguably the most famous silent-film star ever, so no list of black and white movies is complete without him. His movie "The Great Dictator" was released at the beginning of WWII and spoofed an evil dictator.


What star-studded comedy features Katherine Hepburn as a bride who gets a surprise visit from her ex-husband the day before her wedding?

Carey Grant, Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart all starred in this romantic comedy, and Stewart ultimately won the Best Actor Oscar for his role. Billionaire Howard Hughes later bought the film rights to the movie and gave them to Hepburn as a gift.


The story of film producers who decide to put a gigantic ape on public display in New York City.

King Kong has been featured in countless movies, but he was introduced to the world in the 1933 film, "King Kong." When a film crew visits an exotic island, they find King Kong and decide to bring him back to NYC and put him on display. What could possibly go wrong?


In what movie does Edward G. Robinson play a small-time hoodlum who rises to power in Chicago's underworld?

Before Scarface was running the streets of Miami, Rico (aka Little Caesar) was rising in the Chicago underworld. The movie is considered one of the top 10 gangster flicks of all time and is recognized as a masterpiece in the genre.


What was the most recent black and white movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture?

"The Artist" won five Oscars at the 2012 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Director and Actor. The film is the most recent black and white film to win Best Picture, and only the second silent film to win the category.


What WWII drama features the girl in a redcoat?

It's up to you whether you consider this war epic an actual black and white movie, but the entire thing is in black and white except for this girl's red coat. In real life, the girl in the red coat survived the war and wrote a memoir.


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